Borg’s NFL DFS Cash Lineup Review for Week 4 (Fantasy Football)
Decision trees are one of fantasy football’s greatest and worst allies.
A lot of what we call “fantasy football” is simply going down various avenues pretending we know certain outcomes.
Every week I write this article just to give DFS Pass subscribers and Fantasy Footballers listeners a chance to see how I go about my cash process. There are some weeks I am thrilled to type out all that went through my head.
This is not one of those weeks.
I’ll detail my cash game pool of players, how I arrived at my decisions, and share about the gutter my lineups found themselves in this week. At this point, I feel pretty immune to criticism in this space besides the harsh hammer I often lay upon myself. There were some silver linings this week that made up for my losses as I’ll detail below but, at the end of the day, I guessed wrong. And that still hurts.
The goal if this article is neither to boast or wallow in “shoulda, woulda, couldas” but rather give a transparent look at my thought process for the week. Hopefully, this will help DFS Podcast listenersand DFS Pass subscribers get a deeper window into the ups and downs of playing DFS and help you in your selections each week. On Tuesdays, Betz and I review our cash lineups and this week we’ll give some common overreactions we see and hear.
For cash, I specifically play 50/50s, Double-Ups, and H2Hs on DraftKings. I’ll share my unfiltered gut reaction, my thought process behind this lineup construction, and at the bottom, I will post my weekly results including ROI and H2H record to stay accountable with you.
If you’re wanting to go back to the drawing board, we did an overview podcast before the season on DFS Cash Game Strategy. I also published an article on DFS Strategy for Beginners and another entitled: How to Approach Each Position in DFS & Gain an Edge.
Week 4 Cash Lineup
That score look a little lower than the one you posted?
The Thought Process
For Week 4, I could not be in more pain about the outcome. I was basically wiped out in cash for a number of reasons. I discussed cash construction process on the DFS podcast Friday with Mike along with premium articles in the DFS Pass. I also shared that this week I would go much lighter on cash not feeling great about my week in general. I won’t beat around the bush… it was a hectic week at Footballers HQ. Betz and Brooks were out and I had family in town staying with us the whole week.
Hopefully you can hear that not as an excuse but just me sharing what my week went like.
Let’s work from early week locks to where I made my final decisions.
Cash Locks (In My Opinion)
- In our DFS Best Plays article (which comes out on Saturdays), I shared the pool of players that were basically locked from the beginning of the week. But the only true locks this week for me were Jamaal Williams and Stefon Diggs. That’s it. That’s easily the least conviction I’ve had this year entering a slate. Usually there are 4+ guys I feel I have to have in my lineup.
- With two cheaper RBs (Khalil Herbert & Jamaal Williams) on DraftKings, those both looked like the guaranteed chalk. I wrote in the DFS Best Plays: “If I had to lean into one, it’s Jamaal Williams. Detroit’s offensive line is a force ranking 4th in adjusted line yards while Seattle’s is allowing the highest opponent rush rate in the league.“
- Diggs’ role + the Ravens defense felt like a layup in the highest over/under game of the week.
- At QB, I had Josh Allen in for most of the week until it became clear I wanted to pay up in the FLEX for a high-tier RB. The drop from Allen to Mariota ($2800) allowed me to get up elsewhere. I figured I could soak up a ton of Bills production in Diggs, get a nice median score from Mariota who was way too cheap, and get some boom from a stud RB. The weather turning in Baltimore also was a slight push in the direction of Mariota in a dome game.
- My pool of other RBs this week consisted of the high-end guys (Jonathan Taylor, Christian McCaffrey, & Saquon Barkley), the mid-tier (Javonte Williams), and cheaper guys (Khalil Herbert & Rashaad Penny). With Williams locked in, my first lineup constructions consisted of Saquon and JWilly.
- I tried moving down from Herbert to Penny to see if that extra $800 would truly make a difference. I found myself still coming back to mid-priced options and not quite giving me enough savings to get back up to Josh Allen. I also parted from Penny knowing if he went off, I could make a lot of money back on his “Most Rushing Yards on Sunday” wager I added in the DFS Pass Props section. It wasn’t a great week for Props with Betz out (I must confess) including two super narrow bad beats (Kirk Cousins & JK Dobbins). But winning a +3000 bet like this certainly helps build the bankroll after a losing week in cash.
- At TE, I only considered three options: Mark Andrews, T.J. Hockenson, and David Njoku. When Andrews felt a bit cost-prohibitive, the other two were the only ones left. Hockenson was omitted for the simple reason of not wanting to play three Lions in my cash lineup. He just so happened to put up the 7th best TE fantasy score ever and bury anyone who dared not play him. Ouch.
- At WR, my pool was Diggs, A.J. Brown, and Courtland Sutton in the higher-priced tier. Diontae Johnson, Tyler Lockett, and Drake London were the next group. Among the cheapies, I liked the punt plays of David Sills V, Keelan Cole, and Kalif Raymond near the stone min. Being so set on Diggs definitely pigeonholed me this week with my WR choices and thus how I allocated my salary elsewhere.
- Here were the two final lineups I chose from. Spoiler: Lineup 2 was better…
- Saquon projected the best but I didn’t love playing two RBs in the same game with Herbert. I knew the field would lean into Saquon so if I wanted to get slightly different, I figured I would look at the highest projected RB (Jonathan Taylor on the slate. With Christian McCaffrey‘s injury up in the air and the afternoon slate looking pretty rough, Taylor felt like a true differentiator at the position at a lower roster percentage. Game theory-wise I loved seeing him at only 8% in this 50/50. But I was buried with Herbert + JWilly + Saquon being such a common construction.
Mistakes Were Made …
Every week I’ll highlight my biggest mistakes which range from not weighing low-end outcomes to assuming, to not thinking, and ultimately moving away from plays I started with. We’ve all been there… stay water. Don’t try to justify yourself or make things sound better than they were. You made a decision, now deal with it.
- Locking in on Diggs early was not helpful.
- Getting different from Saquon and paying an extra $800 for Taylor was incredibly painful.
- Not playing three Lions was a huge letdown but that also is an outlier performance from Hockenson.
- I could not be more disappointed with Mariota. He had seven total completions and the Falcons won. You bet Arthur Smith is going to be set on establishing the run as much as he can.
Each week I’ll post my head-to-head (H2H) win percentage here to give you an idea of what type of week I had. Keep in mind there are varying price points, competition, and players who take my H2Hs in the lobby that have no rhyme or reason.
|Week||DK Pts||H2H Win %||Note|
|1||147.02||65%||All the Chalk Hits|
|2||106.90||46%||Trey Lance Pain, Mark Andrews Salvage|
|3||122.86||77%||Mack Hollins FTW|
|4||90.26||10%||Jonathan Taylor Nose Dive|
I did hit a 0% last year in Week 2 when I wrote in my cash lineup review: “It’s like someone specifically aimed at my groin region and repeatedly punched me there for six straight hours. Woof.”
Not exactly the same but you get the picture. Best part about DFS is getting to hit refresh in Week 5.
My takeaway this week. Don’t undo a solid week’s worth of research and line-up construction (supported by the DFS pass!) with a knee jerk reaction on Sunday 15 minutes before kick-off…
My original cash line-up was; Allen, Jam Williams, R Penny, AJ Brown, Lamb, R James, Hockenson, Lockett, Bears. Would have scored 168.72 points, giving me 100% win-rate in all my double-ups and 70% in my H2H.
Instead, I panicked after listening to Mike’s pre-game show when he talked about the rain at PHI/JAC and decided to swap out Brown. I also then had a total brainfart and forgot about the basis for picking both Penny and Lockett, and decided 2 Hawks was a bad idea. I swapped out Brown for Pittman, and Lockett for Palmer, which gave me extra cash to play with so I decided to “upgrade” Penny to Herbert. New line-up score: 143.62. resulting in 60% double-ups and 30% H2H.
So a healthy winning week turned into a slightly losing week, all because of a panic tilt.